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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Research Data Management Services at Lehigh


Here is a selection of terms compiled from various glossaries: ACTI Data Management Glossary (ACTI-DM), DCC digital curation glossary (DCC), Data Management Glossary of University of Minnesota Libraries (UML-DM), Earth Science Data System (ESDS) Glossary, and other sources.

  • Archives: A place or collection containing static records, documents, or other materials for long-term preservation. (ACTI-DM)
  • Big Data: A loosely defined term used to describe data sets so large and complex that they become difficult to process and store using data management tools. (ACTI-DM)
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). (
  • Dark Data: "Dark data" is not carefully indexed and stored so it becomes nearly invisible to scientists and other potential users and therefore is more likely to remain underutilized and eventually lost. (Heidorn, P. Bryan. "Shedding light on the dark data in the long tail of science." Library Trends 57.2 (2008): 280-299.)
  • Data: A reinterpretable representation of information in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing. Examples of data include a sequence of bits, a table of number, the characters on a page, the recording of sounds made by a person speaking, or a moon rock specimen. (DCC)
  • Data Archive: Archived data that focuses on preservation and not accessibility. (ACTI-DM)
  • Data Citation: Data citation offers proper recognition to authors as well as permanent identification through the use of global, persistent identifiers in place of URLs, which can change frequently. Use of universal numerical fingerprints (UNFs) guarantees to the scholarly community that future researchers wil be able to verify that data retrieved is identical to that used in a publication decades earlier, even if it has changed storage media, operating systems, hardware, and statistical program format. (
  • Data Curation: Data curation is the active and ongoing management of data through its lifecycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation enables data discovery and retrieval, maintains data quality, adds value, and provides for re-use over time through activities including authentication, archiving, management, preservation, and representation. ( s/programs/ms/data_curation)
  • (Data) Curation Lifecycle: Model A curation lifecycle model documents the relationships between all the stages in the existence of digital information, to enable active manaegment of the resource over time thus maintaining accessibility and usability. (DCC)
  • Data Life Cycle:  "Life cycle" is different from "life span", that is, the time from birth to death. A "cycle" implies an environment in which resources (data) are managed and preserved for discovery and repurposing. Resources are created, curated, made accessible, and preserved for subsequent research, learnng, and policy activity. The challenge is to infuse the data life cycle with the metadata and services that will enable access, evaluation and re-use over time. (UML-DM)
  • Data Management Plan: (1) U.S. funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health require researchers to supply detailed, cost-effective plans for managing research data, called Data Management Plans. (DMP Tool) (2) A data management plan describes the data that will be authored and how the data will be managed and made accessible throughout its lifetime. (DataOne)
  • Data Privacy: The assurance that a person's or organizations' personal and private information is not inappropriately disclosed. Ensuring data privacy requires Access Management, network security, and other data protection efforts such as annoymization, etc. (UML-DM)
  • Data Publishing: Process through which data are fixed and made citable and retrievable over the long term and may imply there has been a quality-control process. (University of Minnesota Libraries)
  • Data Repository: A system that provides online access to research data; by an entity that is committed to providing access to the data; that serves as a primary, authoritative source for data; with a significant collection of like data or data within the scope of a management policy. (Databib: Guidelines for Bibliographers)
  • Data Standard: Also known as a metadata standard, these protocols facilitate compatible communications and interoperability between seperate science laboratory instruments and computer systems. They are a subset of the familiar engineering standards compilations from ANSI, etc. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Domain Name Service (DNS), and the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) are all familiar examples of internet data standards. (University of Minnesota Libraries)
  • Embargo Period: a period during which access is not allowed to certain types of users. (
  • Long Term: A period of time long enough for there to be concern about the impacts of changing technologies, including support for new media and data formats, and of a changing user community, on the information being held in a repository. This period extends into the indefinite future. (DCC)
  • Long Term Preservation: The act of maintaining information, in a correct and independently Understandable form, over the long term. (DCC)
  • Metadata: Metadata is often simply defined as "data about data" or "information about information". NISO (2004) defines it as "structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource." (University of Minnesota Libraries)
  • Open Access: Open access is the unrestricted free access to information and data. (ACTI-DM)
  • Research Data Services: Services and expertise related to the management of research data. These may include data management plan guidance, metadata creation, intellectual property and copyright consulting, etc. (